A Doula’s Dilemma at 4 AM

A Doula’s Dilemma at 4 AM

This week, at my weekly Shabbat class with my neighbor Shira Lichtig, she shared the following experience from her work as a busy labor coach:

“One night this week, I was woken up by my phone at around 3:30 AM. It was one of my birthing mothers. She was in her first pregnancy, and had been getting contractions already for 8 hours. She called to tell me the contractions were getting stronger…

“Then, at around 4 AM, my phone rang again. It was another one of my birthing mothers, in her 8th pregnancy. She told me that she had been having light contractions for 2 hours already, and she reminded me that she has quick births…

“My immediate reaction was–I felt scared. I have an excellent labor coach who is my back-up. But for various reasons I really wanted to attend the births of both these women.

“So I tried to be reasonable. I told myself, in my calmest, most rational voice, that this is not in my hands. Hashem gave me this situation, and He would provide its solution.

“But my heart wasn’t budging. I had an image of how I wanted this situation to turn out. And I wanted to be at both those births!

“So I decided to sit down and started saying my morning prayers. And I tried to relax. And I tried to accept Hashem’s choice in this situation. And I asked Him to help me receive from this situation whatever I was supposed to receive. And I meditated on the problem at hand, thinking deeply. And I decided to not do anything. To just be present. And I felt the coldness leave my heart, and my heart opening again.

“And then I stood up to say the Amida prayer, and out of the blue I thought of the phrase from this week’s Torah portion ‘וכל אשה חכמת לב’–and every woman with a wise heart.

“And I imagined myself surrounded by a great circle of wise-hearted women.

“Our holy Matriarchs: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, Leah. Yocheved, Miriam, Tziporah, Devora…

“And all the holy women, the Tsadikot, from previous generations…

“And all the holy wise-hearted women in my life–the women in my family, my friends, my students, all the women I accompany to their births.

“Each one, a wise-hearted woman, in this great circle that spanned millennia, and included a rainbow-diverse group of Jewish women: Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Religious, Not religious, Young and Old, from Ancient Times, from 2018.

“And I felt, embraced by this circle of wise-hearted women, the hamtaka, the sweetness of this situation I was in.

“And nothing had changed at all. There were still two births I wanted to attend, and I didn’t know if I would be able to.

“But my disappointment had been replaced by acceptance, even joy. Because I understood that the future was not in my hands. And whatever Hashem chose would be the best possible solution–for me and for these birthing mothers as well.

“In the end, here’s what happened: the mother of 8 gave birth later that morning, and the first-time mother gave birth a whole day later.

“But the fact that everything worked out as I’d hoped is not why I’m sharing this story.

“I’m sharing it because I saw that through accepting Hashem’s will unconditionally, I completely altered my experience of reality.

“From fear to sweetness. From my own hands to His.”


  1. beautiful

  2. Nice! I kind of feel bad for the first time mom that her labor dragged on another day…..

    • JewishMom

      maybe it stopped and then started again:) that’s what would ALWAYS happen to me…

  3. don’t worry, she had a beautiful and powerful birth. she really neaded that time and felt greatly empowered by how it all happened…everything was very precise baruch hashem 🙂
    thanks jewishmom!

  4. how lucky were both those women to give birth with such a doula who came with all those tphilot and pure thoughts! thks for sharing this gives hizuk for all situations

  5. very moving experience. tefilla,and asking what we want/need,and hashem decides what is best for us.

  6. Wow, I need to internalize this process and apply it to my pesach cleaning. INCREDIBLE! Let go of my ideas of how things should go, accept reality, and allow Hashem to run the show. Embrace the wise women who know this and rejoice in it. Turn to Hashem and allow Him to resolve difficulties.

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